7 tips for handling a layover

To layover, or not to layover, that is the question. For many travellers, a layover can be inevitable, and the only thing to do is make the best of it. Others choose a layover deliberately to maximize their travel experience.

Whatever your situation, the trick is to be prepared. Decide in advance whether to stay at the airport or leave and come back in time for your connecting flight. This will help you make the most of the few hours you have.

Having travel insurance with benefits for trip cancellation, interruption, and delay may help protect your wallet during unexpected layovers. Continue reading to find out more about what you can do during a layover and how travel insurance may help. 

Airplanes make several types of stops. They refuel, pick up or drop off passengers, and facilitate connections on non-direct routes. If you don't want to disembark and explore a new city or airport, make sure you book direct routes or flights. Passengers should not disembark from the aircraft.

A layover is a stopover between cities. It can range from 30 minutes to 23 hours. A stopover is when travelers take a break in the middle of an international journey. They stay in one city for more than 24 hours.

Savvy travellers often create itineraries with stopovers. This gives them the opportunity to spend a night in Paris or Rome if desired. They also use this strategy to accumulate air miles and points that can help enhance their status.

Depending on the length of the layover you can, and should, leave the airport. While trying to zip in to the heart of Amsterdam to visit the flower market on a three-hour layover isn’t a good idea, a longer layover may deserve breathing in some non-airport air, even if it is just in the hotel attached to the airport.

To make the most of a short layover, get to know the airport ahead of time and plan accordingly. Eat a good meal, get a pedicure, go for a walk or workout, or take a nap. But be sure to set an alarm so you don't miss your next flight.

Airports can provide great on-ground entertainment. Singapore Changi airport has a large slide, for example. San Francisco airport, on the other hand, has outstanding spas and play areas.

Modern airports offer a wealth of services, often within the secure area. Make sure to leave enough time to go through security again when leaving the secure area for your connecting flight. Otherwise, you may miss your flight.  

On a layover flight, the airline will take control of your baggage at departure and return it only upon arrival. Listen closely to the instructions given about baggage, and ask a flight attendant or service desk if you have any questions.

If you have a long layover, you may need a few extra items. Pack a change of clothes, workout gear, a toothbrush, and any children's items in your carry-on. This way, you can minimize the amount of luggage you need for a layover.

If you're changing airlines, you'll need to collect all your luggage and go through security again. It is difficult to leave the airport when carrying a large suitcase. Nobody wants to carry a big bag out for dinner in Manhattan.

Many large airports offer luggage storage and valets. This makes it easier to explore the area without having to carry a heavy load. Fortunately, this service is available.

Airports offer many ways to pass the time while waiting for your connected flight. Here are some ways you could fill up your time and make the most of your airport stay.

Catch up on sleep

An important tip for long layovers is to get a hotel room. Anything longer than 12 hours will require a mental and physical rest. As a rule, airport floors are not comfortable, and anyway, everyone needs a bit of privacy. A hotel bed, hot shower and your own pajamas will make overnight layover trips much more enjoyable. If travelling with young children, a clean, quiet space to rest, regroup and recharge is a must. Families should plan ahead by finding out which airport play areas and child-friendly restaurants are available at their layover airport.

Exercise at an airport fitness cent

Sitting for too long can be dangerous. If the airport you are at has a gym during your long layover, take advantage of it. Use the cardio machines and weights to get your blood circulating. Some airports even offer yoga areas. If you’re working up a sweat, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to use the shower facilities, before your flight.

The airport may not have a gym. Take a walk around the airport instead. While you're there, use the opportunity to people watch. You could also find a space to do your own exercises such as squats, stretching, and sit-ups.

Watch your favourite shows

Do you have a Netflix or Amazon Prime account? Consider exploring the TV and movie selection of the country you are staying in temporarily. Instead,, you may also want to download the show you’d like to see before leaving and view it offline.

Use the lounge facilities

Your ticket or credit card may offer you access to free airport lounges. Make sure to check out both options, before leaving on your trip. If you don't have free access, check if your airline is offering any day passes for purchase.Use the lounge facilities

Leave the airport

Long layovers provide an opportunity for the savvy traveller. One can sample the local cuisine of a new city, explore a new neighbourhood or museum, even for a short time. This can be a chance to take some deep breaths.

Amsterdam Schiphol airport easily connects from the airport to the city by using public transportation. A train ride from the airport to the city centre only takes about 20 minutes by train. If you have more than a four-hour layover, don’t miss out on visiting Amsterdam.

Frankfurt am Main is an important airport hub in Europe. It is similar to Amsterdam Schiphol airport, as it is close to the city center. Additionally, it has great public transportation options.

Dubai airport is conveniently connected directly to the city centre by a subway system. Prefer to stay cool? Avoid the hot desert temperatures by taking the metro from the airport to the city centre and Dubai Mall. If you have the time, visit one of Dubai’s main attraction, the Burj Khalifa. 

Singapore airport is renowned for its spectacular design. You may not even want to leave during your long layover! All terminals offer playgrounds for kids, an arcade, and movie theatres. If you do decide to explore the city, visit the infinity pool on the Marina Bay Sands Hotel or the Gardens by the Bay.

Las Vegas airport is a short ride to the south end of the Strip. This could be a fun way to spend your time, before taking off on your connecting flight. 

Trip interruption and delay benefits, are included in Allianz Global Assistance's non-medical travel insurance plans or comprehensive travel insurance plans. These benefits may be helpful if your return flight home is delayed for reasons covered by the policy. Examples of such reasons include weather, labour disputes, air traffic control issues, or mechanical issues.

Your policy may provide reimbursement for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses for meals and accommodations in eligible situations. Check the “Benefits, Coverages, Exclusions and Limitations” sections of the policy to be familiar with those eligible circumstances for reimbursement.

Download the TripWise mobile app from Allianz Global Assistance for extra comfort. This app includes a useful flight tracker so you can stay up to date on unexpected flight changes.

If you are unsure about your coverage or have any questions, you can call Allianz Global Assistance at 1-844-310-1578.

Travel insurance is underwritten by CUMIS General Insurance Company, a member of The Co-operators Group of Companies, administered by Allianz Global Assistance, which is a registered business name of AZGA Service Canada Inc.

Travel protected with Allianz Global Assistance
Or call us at 1-844-310-1578 
to speak with one of our agents.
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